As they plant the first seed of a future harvest, I watch in amazement. Sitting on the ground, looking past this one small seed, my eyes are filled with the sight of green, red and purple grapes growing on a vine. How could something so small develop into such a beautiful, astonishing piece of life? Like the process that a seed undergoes in order to grow into a grape, I have experienced a similar process with self-discovery. The summer before my sophomore year, I spent two weeks living with a French family on their vineyard in Bordeaux, France. As my weeks progressed with the family, I watched not only that one grape mature, but myself as well.
Everything in life has to start somewhere, like the birth of a seed. Two summers before my adventure to France, the Puel family (family that I stayed with) contacted my father about allowing their son Marc, to come live with my family for the summer. Ever since he came, our families developed strong friendships, which lead to my journey to France. When I first arrived to the Puel’s vineyard, my mind was wandering. Stepping out of the petite, French vehicle, my feet pulled me with a strong force, towards the vineyard. For some reason, those fields of life fascinated me to do some exploring of my own. During those two weeks with the Puel family, I experienced activities I have never done before, such as living on a vineyard. Everything about the trip was wonderful, however, the supreme experience of them all was that which helped shape the person I am today.
On the first day of my adventure, I did what any other traveler to France would do; I climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower. However, while walking to the Eiffel Tower, I saw a sight, that made my heart stop. Not one of those tourist attractions that you expect to see in France, but rather a real world site. I saw a homeless man sleeping on the side of the road. Seeing this homeless man made me realize that there is poverty and homelessness all over the world. This site set off a trigger in my mind that it was time for me to make a difference in the world.
Throughout the grape growing process, some grapes will fall from the vine, while others continue on the quest toward the top of the vine. When I returned home from my eye opening trip, I got to work figuring out a way that I could help fight against homelessness and poverty housing. I came to the realization that Habitat for Humanity was the organization that would assist me in this battle. So, I started the first Habitat for Humanity Youth United in Wichita, Kansas because I truly wanted to make a difference in the world. Habitat for Humanity Youth United is an organization that consists of youth only who work together to raise $60,000 in order to use that money to build a home for a local family.
As I left the vineyard, I saw that one tiny seed, blossoming into a grape. When I left the United States for my journey to France, I had no idea that I would come back with so much. I came back not only with the experience of traveling, but I came back with a mission to change the world by fighting to end homelessness and poverty housing. And maybe one day, I will be able to build a home for that man that inspired me to help others!
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